I have a windows 2016 Server to which I can connect remotely using a Java web based console from a Dell server.

I can usually access that console and connect to the server, hit ctrl+alt+del and get the password prompt for the user, being able to login as if I were standing in front of the server.

Since a few days ago, and apparently after some updates were installed, whenever I hit ctrl+alt+del, I see the circular loading indicator from windows that shows up before showing the graphical password prompt, and then windows goes back to the lock screen without me being able to insert the password.

Basically, I am locked out of the server. I have tried going to safe mode, but the same behaviour happens.

Any hint on how I can fix this?


Is there any way to repair or reset the machine without having valid restore points? Is there a factory reset, or a way to revert updates through the command line?

For what I have seen, I can get to a command line even though I can't login (https://www.top-password.com/blog/reset-forgotten-windows-server-2016-password/). Would I be able to rollback updates from there, or try any additional commands to avoid having to reinstall from scratch?

  • Are you able to boot to repair mode and roll back to a restore point prior to the updates? e.g., this article Aug 10 '19 at 20:39
  • @HarryJohnston unfortunately no valid / recent restore point exists. Aug 10 '19 at 23:07
  • @HarryJohnston is there any other way without having restore points? Aug 14 '19 at 20:19
  • I believe dism can be used to uninstall updates from the command line. Whether that will help is unclear, it depends on what exactly has actually gone wrong. Aug 14 '19 at 21:43

Just leaving here an answer in case someone else stumbles upon this.

There was no way to regain access to the server, not even locally.

We ended up formatting and reinstalling. Go figure...

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.